For many women, working full time is simply not a choice. Perhaps she is a single mom or the family budget is truly just too tight. For many of us though, we believe that being a stay at home mom isn’t financially possible at first glance. However, if you’ve been longing to be a stay at home mom, a closer look at your budget may show it’s more financially possible than you think with good money management. (This post contains affiliate/sponsored links.)
It turns out working moms spend quite a bit of money just for the privilege of going to work. Once you take yourself out of the work force, you can save a surprising amount out of your budget.
How to Afford to Be a Stay at Home Mom
Money saved by Not going to work:
Diapers & Formula
It may also be more convenient for stay at home moms to exclusively breastfeed. (There are certainly many exceptions to this rule. One amazing mama from my La Leche League group just completed a full year of pumping at work!) If you do avoid buying formula you can save $150 per month.
It is no doubt exhausting to be a mom who works full time outside the house. It would be very tough to come home every night day in and day out and make dinner and pack a lunch for the next day. When you wake up exhausted in the morning, it would be really hard to drag yourself past Starbucks. If you had just one coffee, one lunch out, and one dinner per week, that could quickly add up to over $200 per month.
If you’re careful, your transportation expenses could go down when you are no longer commuting daily to work. The average worker spends somewhere around $400 a month commuting. If you pay for parking now, that will be another cost savings.
Money Saved by Being a Stay at Home Mom
Allow me to make some hypothetical assumptions about the average working mom and how much she could save by not going to work.The thing I’m obviously leaving out is health and retirement benefits. This can vary greatly depending on whether your spouse has a health plan you can join. (Update: with the new “Obamacare” rules, your health insurance costs may go down drastically if your income goes down, but this isn’t an option if your spouse’s employer offers benefits.) If you have savings you may opt for an health insurance plan with a high deductible to keep premiums more affordable. As for retirement, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make as I know I won’t be at home forever and hopefully I’ll be able to make up for it later in my career. Those two issues aside, you can see that there is a ridiculous amount of work related expense gobbles up most of a working mom’s pay check.
Make Up the Difference with Budget Reductions
Make Up the Difference with Work at Home Income
Many stay at home moms supplement their income by working at home. The good news is you won’t have to make up 100 percent of your former income by working at home. As shown above, you are actually savings quite a bit of money by being a stay at home mom. There is relatively little left over that you would need to earn to make up the difference.You may be able to get contract work within your industry, or you may choose to try something completely new. (Here are 60+ ways real moms are making income from home.) When deciding your contract rate, be sure to account for paying your own taxes, insurance, and retirement. Also, factor in for paid time off that you would usually get with full time employment.Everyone’s individual financial situation is different, but I hope these tips have given you a new perspective on how to afford to be a stay at home mom. If you deeply desire to be at home with your kids, I believe you can make it work with a bit of determination!